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20 legislators won’t seek return to Statehouse this year


20 legislators won’t seek return to Statehouse this year

Mar 27, 2023 | 9:39 pm ET
By Nikita Biryukov
20 legislators won’t seek return to Statehouse this year
Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer, a Republican from Gloucester County, is one of six members of the Assembly seeking a Senate seat this year. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)

Twenty sitting New Jersey lawmakers will not seek reelection this year — the largest number in at least a decade and a half — while at least two other lawmakers will lose their seats after June’s primaries.

The list of legislators opting to retire after this year’s round of legislative elections, when all 120 seats are on the ballot, includes longtime members like Sen. Fred Madden and Assemblyman Tom Giblin and newcomers like Sen. Jean Stanfield and Assemblywoman DeAnne DeFuccio.

In total, seven lawmakers in the Senate and 13 in the Assembly did not file nominating petitions for their old seats with the New Jersey secretary of state by a 4 p.m. deadline Thursday. Eight of the lawmakers are Republicans, and 12 are Democrats.

An additional six Assembly members are seeking a promotion to the Senate this fall.

Two closely watched races will be in the 3rd District, located mostly in Gloucester County, and in the 27th District, located mostly in Essex, where sitting lawmakers will face off in bids to win their party’s nomination in June.

In the 3rd District, Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Gloucester) will challenge her one-time running mate, Sen. Ed Durr (R-Gloucester). Durr gained national fame in 2021 by ousting the then-Senate president, Stephen Sweeney.

Meanwhile, Essex County Democrats Sen. Dick Codey and Sen. Nia Gill both filed to seek their party’s nomination in the 27th District, which was redrawn to include both of their homes. Essex County’s Democratic Party is backing Codey over Gill.

Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson) is officially not seeking reelection. Health issues have kept Cunningham, who has served nearly 16 years in the Senate, from the Trenton Statehouse for months.

She was expected to forgo a reelection bid, and those expectations were reinforced after Hudson County Democrats endorsed Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) for her Senate seat in early May.

Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Ocean) opted against seeking reelection after Ocean County Republicans awarded her position on the party line to Stafford Mayor Greg Myhre. Gove has held her legislative seat since 2009.

The party line, a quirk of New Jersey’s ballot design, sees organization-endorsed candidates grouped together on the ballot, a position that lends an advantage at the polls.

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Gloucester) will retire alongside Madden (D-Gloucester) after 12 years in the Legislature.

Giblin (D-Essex) said he would not seek reelection days after his chief of staff, Lolita Cruz, filed a complaint against the eight-term lawmaker alleging he yelled at and humiliated her, according to Politico New Jersey, which first reported the complaint.

Some of the signatures on candidates’ nominating petitions will be challenged — candidates need 100 valid signatures — and some will be removed because the signing voters belonged to the wrong party or other issues with their voter registration, such as being registered elsewhere or being unregistered altogether.

Broadly, candidates with 130 or fewer signatures are in danger of being knocked off the ballot. Those with fewer than 110 signatures are exceedingly unlikely to survive a challenge. Petition challenges seldom pose a problem for incumbents.

The deadline to challenge petitions is March 31.

Senate retirees:

  • Sen. Fred Madden (D-Gloucester), 4th District
  • Sen. Jean Stanfield (R-Burlington), 8th District
  • Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Ocean), 9th District
  • Sen. Sam Thompson (D-Middlesex), 12th District
  • Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sussex), 24th District
  • Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson), 31st District
  • Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson), 32nd District

Assembly retirees:

  • Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Gloucester), 4th District
  • Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Ocean), 9th District
  • Assemblyman John Catalano (R-Ocean), 10th District
  • Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Mercer), 14th District
  • Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D-Somerset), 15th District
  • Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Sussex), 24th District
  • Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex), 27th District
  • Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-Hudson), 32nd District
  • Assemblyman Pedro Mejia (D-Hudson), 32nd District
  • Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson), 33rd District
  • Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-Essex), 34th district
  • Assemblywoman DeAnne DeFuccio (R-Bergen), 39th District
  • Assemblyman Kevin Rooney (R-Bergen), 40th District

Assemblymembers running for Senate

  • Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Gloucester), 3rd District
  • Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester), 4th District
  • Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sussex), 24th District
  • Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), 31st District
  • Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), 32nd District
  • Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (D-Essex), 34th District